05/25/05 — Red Cross hires new blood services director

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Red Cross hires new blood services director

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on May 25, 2005 1:45 PM

Samia Garner is the new blood services director for the Wayne County Chapter of the American Red Cross. She started May 2.

Her duties will include scheduling blood drives, educating blood drive sponsors and working with blood donors.

The 47-year-old said one of her main goals is to recruit new sponsors for blood drives and increase public awareness of the blood program.

Mrs. Garner is a native of Kinston and graduated from Kinston High School. She took some college courses then took a position as a clothing and cosmetic buyer for 11 big stores.

After several years, she decided to change fields and went into ophthalmic sales. "My first year, I ended up being one of the top five salesmen in the country for the company," she said.

Mrs. Garner left her career to raise her two children.

While raising her children, she interned at their school for 10 years, teaching in all areas from kindergarten through ninth grade.

Then she felt like she wanted to get back into a career.

"I actually never set out to be a blood services director," she said. "I was going to wait until the fall to seek a position when I saw this job advertised.

"At the first interview, I decided I wanted the job. It's all about people and at the end of the day feeling really good about what you've done and seeing that you've made a difference."

She said the Red Cross is an organization that "kind of gets taken for granted. People forget about it somewhat until there is a disaster or another need. You just always know the Red Cross will be there."

Mrs. Garner's husband, Joe, is vice president of sales for North America for Universal Leaf Tobacco. Her daughter, Alex, 18, will attend University of North Carolina at Wilmington in the fall. Her son, Ross, 15, attends Parrott Academy in Kinston.

The family lives in Goldsboro. They attend St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Kinston.